Friday, November 6, 2020

I Voted For Tyler

 Tyler is an American.  In fact, I believe he is a GOOD American.  He works hard, he overcomes adversity, and he loves his fellow man.  

Tyler does not vote.  He does not have the mental capacity to vote.  He cannot understand the complexities of the political world, and perhaps he is lucky not to.

But let me remind everyone...

This shameful display was a "leader" who saw fit to insult a handicapped journalist.  When he did such a despicable thing, it effected me personally.  He insulted every disabled American and he insulted my son.  In this moment HE INSULTED MY BELOVED WONDERFUL SON.  So I am going to exercise my right as his father to now comment on that and this election.

I have never seen such a despicable human being.  If you disagree, look at the picture above and then check yourself in the mirror.  This puke made fun of a brave American hero because he was different due to a handicap.  My son fights to prevail every day despite those who mock him.  

Most disappointing is the religious institutions that whored themselves for Republican money and protections that they sold their morality for a few pieces of silver.  Those who pretend to have religious purpose while turning their heads to bigotry, hate, misogyny, and class warfare.  There is no other way to put this, our religious leaders have failed to stand up for true Christian values.  They have failed the most vulnerable of us....and that is Tyler and everyone in similar circumstances to him.  

I spoke for myself and I spoke for him.  Let me show you this picture again.  This was a stake to the heart of me, Tyler, and the special needs community.

I challenge any so-called Christian to spend 5 minutes with Tyler and then look at this picture.  If you aren't disgusted and appalled with this, I have no more time for you.  Period.

For those who want to say "he has flaws" I challenge you to show me where he has humbled himself, apologized, or repented for his actions.  Never.  

I voted in this election.  And in some fashion, so did Tyler.  We voted for compassion, love, and tolerance.  We voted for Biden.  And maybe just as importantly, we voted against hate and ignorance in the form of a coward by the name of Donald Trump.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Family Update

 The clock just seems to roll one day into the next.  The calendar clicks away the days, nearly empty of appointments, gatherings, or adventures.  Every day feels like groundhog day, just without the groundhog.

Tyler is doing "ok".  Because he is unable to wear a mask, he has not been able to return to his day program or go out into public.  It has become a challenge to keep him exercised and stimulated, but the house is doing their very best.  Even the church hasn't responded to my e-mail about how to bring Tyler back safely.  Its hard for everyone to know the right answers and get things right at thee moment, but I would expect that Tyler would be an important enough member of the congregation to warrant discussion on how to safely keep him actively attending.  On the health front, Tyler is also just "ok".  As he is often subject to, his stomach has slowed down and caused him some temporary bloating and discomfort.  Its the kind of thing that a young man with so many challenges shouldn't have piled on top of him.  It just isn't fair.  It adds to the helplessness of not being able to see him and comfort him.  Its been 7 months since we have seen Tyler, hugged him, laughed with him, or told him face-to-face how much we love him.  He doesn't understand the circumstances so he is simply in a seemingly endless void.  Somewhere in his mind I hope he knows that our love is always with him even when we can't be.

Samantha is doing "ok" as well.  We decided that she would remain at home for now and attend cyber school.  It felt like the safe play considering it is too hard to predict how returning to school will effect the spread of the virus.  We have already gotten calls warning us that staff have tested positive in our district.  There are also other local districts temporarily shutting down due to positive cases or suspected positive cases.  I'm hoping that my predictions have been wrong, and the schools will remain healthy and open.  Meanwhile, Samantha is actually enjoying cyber school.  She likes the shorter overall day, not getting on the bus, and not having some of the social pressures that come at this age.  She lights up when she talks about her teacher...saying she is funny, sweet, and "best of all she is a good person".  I figure that is about as good as it gets.  She does miss her friends and socializing of course, but we try to make sure she has other means to fill those needs.

My wife is very steady through almost everything, so its hard to gauge exactly how much she has been effected.  I know she misses Tyler desperately.  But I think as long as we are all healthy and keeping the roof over our heads, she is "ok".

I consider my own self to be a mixed bag.  On one hand I'm enjoying the family time.  We've also used the time to work on home projects.  Unfortunately there is a downside too.  Parts of my anxiety seemed to have spiked.  Its difficult to explain, but certain conditions and sounds have the tendency to take me back to highly anxious times and events.  Sometimes it takes a lot to throw me back there, sometimes it takes very subtle things.  I think by not seeing him and having that first hand connection it is harder for me to feel reassured.  

We send our thoughts to everyone who is struggling right now.  So many people are hurting because of COVID-19, social injustice, and the divisive climate.  Our family wishes a successful end to the pandemic, equality and love for all humans, and peace and cooperation to return to our nation.  We are common in our struggles, yet choosing to be divided in our fight.  We cannot conquer these issues without unity.

Be well and God bless.    Tom 

Monday, July 13, 2020

COVID and Tyler II

It doesn't seem like 2 months since I've posted here.  In a strange way, we are experiencing a "Groundhog Day" type of vortex in this world.  Our calendar remains mostly bare of engagements and appointments.  Outside of brief visits with close family and close neighbors there is not much of a social life. 

Tyler remains in constant quarantine at his residential home.  We have not seen him since the end of February, which at times seems like years ago.  He is doing "just ok" but I think the isolation is beginning to rack his nerves, as it would anyone.  The amount of outside socialization can't be good for him, and even fresh air and exercise seem more difficult to come by.  His staff and the agency are doing an amazing job protecting his well-being, as well as the health of his staff.  It's all they can do right now.

COVID has been unique in that most problems stemming from it have no clear answer.  The most notable I find is the argument of health versus economics.  This is not a new thing....workplaces and households make these kind of decisions all the time.  Our workplace could always spend more money making things safer but at some point if the company can't make a profit it won't matter anyway.  COVID is different as it is turning these decisions into true life-or-death propositions.

Tonight our school board will be deciding how to resume school in the fall.  Most parents have voiced that we need to get the kids back to school and start getting things "back to normal".  Unfortunately, this ignores the undeniable fact that the virus is actually thriving and not dying.  We are hearing people justify the decision by saying how kids do not seem to get it as bad as adults.  The problem is we truly DON'T KNOW how this effects children long term.  Most schools were closed and children quarantined very early on.  We are also just finding evidence that those who have even mild symptoms are experience long term effects that were not seen before. 

The other infuriating denial statement is something like "well, its only elderly people that seem to be dying from this".  First, this is not true.  Secondly, people that are vulnerable are not expendable.  By sending children to school full time we will be jeopardizing loved ones that we should be protecting.

So...I'm going to document how I see this going over the next few months and we can see how close I get:

Most schools will vote to re-open fully with the foolish notion that they can use social distancing and masks.  Have you ever tried to get a kindergartner to eat peas?  Try keeping the mask on them every day all day.  Try not having them touch other kids.  By day 3 they will be licking each others faces and making bubbles with their snot.  Many schools, lets say within the first 8 weeks, will begin reporting positive cases, some a handful, others a full outbreak.  Emergency meetings will be held and schools will close back down.  Unfortunately it will be too late and older administration and family members will fall ill as well by the time we take action.  We may even find out more effects it has on children than we knew before.  It will be March all over again but now we will have already lost people due to the rush to become "normal" again.

I pray I'm wrong....but I doubt that I am.  We are ready to gamble lives for the sake of normalcy, selfishness, economics, and saving political face.  Exactly all the wrong reasons.

Be well and God bless.   Tom

Monday, May 18, 2020

COVID-19 and Tyler

The first and most important thing to point out is that Tyler, his staff, and his housemate are all safe and sound from the virus so far.  His agency has done an amazing job, and the staff are HEROES without question for the safety and love they are currently providing.  We are blessed beyond measure that so far the family has remained healthy.  My most sincere thanks go to those people on the front lines trying to keep us all safe, fed, and entertained during such a difficult time period.  Bless all of you.

It has been about 3 months since we have seen Tyler.  The number one concern right now is to protect those that need extra protection.  Tyler cannot protect himself from the virus, so we must step up and do the right things for him.  He understands that his routine has been shot, and people around him are wearing masks, but he doesn't understand why.  Fortunately time is a concept he doesn't fully grasp, so he may not realize just how long all this has been going on.

But we do.  We miss him every day.  We want him to know that we are still here for him and that we still love him as much as ever.  

For me, this brings into play a truth that I will probably never be able to live with....I can't fully protect him.  No matter how diligent we all are, no matter how great our staff is, and no matter how much we plan for every scenario, we can only do so much.  I'd like to be able to say that doing the best we can is enough to be able to sleep soundly at night, but it isn't.  The cold hard fact that this virus has shown us is that when a person is truly vulnerable there are things in the world that can get to them no matter what.  

For years, even before Tyler left home, I've suffered from recurring nightmares about him.  The settings change but the theme remains the same, something is happening to him and I cannot save him.  Sometimes we are in a body of water and he is sinking and the realization that I can't keep him and I afloat at the same time.  Sometimes we are crossing a road and for some reason I can't get him out of the middle of the road.  I don't think the dreams play out completely, they just center on my fear of being helpless to protect him.  The virus feels like this scenario playing out in real life.  Its invisible, and in some cases unstoppable.  For people with special needs and their staff, there is no way to completely isolate themselves.  The care of their individuals have to come first, even if it makes them more susceptible to getting sick.  Its a no-win situation.

For the time being, we can only pray for everyone's safety and make the best choices we know how to make.  We have to thank all of those people that are enduring additional hazards in order to protect our loved ones.  And we have to hope that our worst nightmare confines itself to our sleep.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Sam's View on COVID-19 and Tyler

Hello Everyone, my name is Samantha and if you don't know me here is a quick summary: I am Tom's daughter and Tyler's little sister. I am 11 years old and today I will be talking about COVID - 19 and how it is effecting me. So to start off it has made me not be able to see my brother for one thing and I can not see him for my birthday. My birthday is in April and that is coming up so I won't be able to see him for this special occasion. But on the other hand I miss Tyler so much. I mean, not seeing your brother in almost a month is sad because he is family and it is sad not to see someone you love for so long, and it breaks my heart to say I may not see my brother for the rest of the year. And I know that some kids complain about their sibling in these unfortunate times but you should be thankful for them because Tyler is all I have as a sibling, so when I have no more school work to do I don't have a clue what I want to do because I have no siblings. So all the children out there who complain about there siblings they should not in these times, because we all need each other so we should be working together and defeat this stupid virus. We need to be family like we are right now because we need everyone's help in not spreading the virus anymore, so wear your masks, wash your hands and sanitize every time you touch something such as ....... doorknobs, handles, karts, anything. You need to stay safe and stay healthy please please please please stay safe and listen to the 3 H




Hope you enjoyed today's blog I hope all of this will be all over soon please stay healthy and happy and at home you and I need to stay safe.